By Makenna Mays
INDIANAPOLIS — When Meghan Yencer found out she had been awarded the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship, she was filled with gratitude.
“It is a lifted weight to know that you don’t have to be responsible for paying that amount of money to go to school,” said Yencer, a secondary English education major at Franklin College. “It makes things easier.”
Yencer, of Bluffton, is one of 200 students who received a scholarship during its first year. Applications are now being accepted for the second year of the scholarship that provides $7,500 each year, up to $30,000. Students who receive the scholarship must commit to teaching in Indiana for five consecutive years after graduation.
During the first year, 642 students from 274 Indiana high schools applied. The General Assembly created the scholarship in 2016 with bipartisan support.
“This scholarship reflects our statewide goal of encouraging more high-achieving students to pursue a worthwhile and fulfilling career in the classroom,” House Speaker Brian Bosma, who authored the legislation, said in a statement.
The program is designed to attract top students. Applicants are required to have either scored in the top 20th percentile on the ACT or SAT, or graduated in the top 20 percent of their class. Applicants must be nominated by a teacher and submit a nomination form with their application.
“These scholarships have the potential to improve education around the state for generations to come,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said in a statement.
Yencer heard about the scholarship through her high school principal, who also happens to be her dad. She has been passionate about teaching since her senior year at Southern Wells Jr.-Sr. High School. She is thankful to see the state is helping future Hoosier teachers.
“I was really glad to see that the state is doing something like that to pull more kids in to get into education, because I think it’s really important,” said Yencer.
Students can apply at ScholarTrack.IN.gov until Nov. 30. Finalists will be interviewed early next year. Students are encouraged to complete the nomination form before starting the application.
“Highlight your best qualities,” Yencer said, “and let your talents shine.”
Makenna Mays is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.